African Smallholders and Their Market Environment

Alan de Brauw*, Erwin Bulte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Smallholder farmers in Africa are poor and appear unproductive relative to larger farmers. But once one takes their environment into account, we argue they make rational production decisions given their multiple objectives under the multiple constraints they face. These constraints are shaped by transaction costs, which determine what smallholders can buy and sell. Transaction costs include not just transporting goods to market, but also costs of aggregation, dealing with risk, obtaining liquidity, and costs related to trust, market power, and even storage. The remainder of the book, then, provides historical and institutional reasons why African smallholders face high transaction costs. After explaining why some solutions will likely fail, the book concludes with what we consider promising areas for interventions to catalyze Structural Transformation 2.0 in Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAfrican Farmers, Value Chains and Agricultural Development
Subtitle of host publicationAn Economic and Institutional Perspective
EditorsA. de Brauw, E. Bulte
ISBN (Electronic)9783030886936
ISBN (Print)9783030886950
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2021

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Agricultural Economics and Food Policy book series (AEFP)
ISSN (Print)2662-3889
ISSN (Electronic)2662-3897


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